This is a little self serving and I'm sure I'll hear from all the critics... but I really dig this community, I'm the world's BIGGEST EVGA fan and it's too cool not to share. I've ogled the pages of Popular mechanics since I was a kid but I really never dreamt I'd build anything myself that would make it to print - but it did in september. Here's the backstory: I've been building liquid cooled computers for about as long as there has been kit to build them, just can't get enough. Back in 2006 I started building Henry - the 1st rig in my ModsRig profile. Henry started in 2006 as a semi powerful media machine that I used a dodgy Thermaltake Bigwater kit to cool the CPU. He had a quad core AMD Phenom and made some pretty serious heat when I was gaming or... anything really. It made enough heat that I started thinking about how to use it for something other than running up my air conditioning bill.
When I bought and remodeled a house in ~2009 I got a little nuts. I rigged a heat exchanger to preheat the hot water heater and plumbed my man cave with hydronic computer generated floor heat. I also built a heat exchanger and sunk it under the foundation of the house so I could dump any extra heat I didn't need in the summer right into the ground. That really worked like charm but I was only pushing about 700W of electricity through my rig and only recovering about 50% of that through the loop, not really enough to make a dent in the winter heating load. And the thermaltake kit was really not up for the job.
So I went a little nuts and built a monster of a rig out of a ton of ASUS/AMD/EVGA and EKWB kit (sorry Koolance... we tried and failed). It'll pull 1600W fully loaded and makes some serious hot water. Once I got it together and started to put it through it's paces I was really hooked, so I took the last 2 years to optimize this thing to do combined heating and computing. Along the way I melted a lot of watercooling kit and had to reengineer just about everything in the rig to withstand the unbelievable temperatures it hits. I've replaced all the poly tubing with high temp silicon wrapped with coils to keep it from rupturing. I machined new brass covers for all 6 EK water blocks, because they started to warp and weep at about 160f. And after melting the CPVC in my thermal storage system I re engineered the thing out of copper and steel as well as replacing the water I was using with some amazing phase change material (fatty acids and esters - think soap).
Once I had hardened the system so it would withstand extended jaunts above 160f, I had to split the loop and run the north/south bridge, RAM and the two liquid cooled AQUERO 6XTs on their own lower temperature system. Now the primary loop will exit the rig at 200f and we've hit 190F in the thermal storage tanks - something I certainly thought was not possible when we started... and I'm sure many of you are going to tell me it's not. The rig runs so hot that it makes steam across the GPUs.
I'm sure there will be plenty of folks to let me know that:
- won't/doesn't work - ie. I'm full of it
- is a lame idea - why on earth would you want to run a computer hot?? (there are actually very economic and environmental good reasons - we'll see if anyone wants to talk about them!)
- breaks the laws of thermodynamics - it doesn't, start here and I'll help out with specifics
- is a copycat of Microsoft, Cloud & Heat, Quarnot Computing or Nerdalize - it's not
- Popular Mechanics are idiots - Try New Scientist, Network World, New York Times, OZY or PRI.
- Kickstarter was a bad idea - yes, kickstarter was a bad idea. ;-)
Okay guys, I am stepping away from the computer for the weekend (it's my anniversary) so... let me have it!